Look who's coming to town *

TextJudith Regan is vacating New York and moving her publishing and media group to Los Angeles by the end of the year, to concentrate on television and film projects — and becoming the city's newest salon maven. The New York Times sees meaning in the switch of coasts:

In doing so, ReganBooks, which is part of HarperCollins, which is in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, would be one of the few major book imprints to be based outside Manhattan and one of the first to leave New York for the West Coast.

The move could shake up an industry that has long operated in a parochial, Manhattan-centric fashion, even as technology has made the location of a company less important.

Ms. Regan has often been an industry trend-setter, being the first publisher to seize on the potential of popular radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, the huge fan base of professional wrestlers like Mick Foley, and the interest in pornographic film stars like Jenna Jameson. Books from each of those authors were big best sellers for Ms. Regan, either in the early 1990's at Simon & Schuster, where she worked as an editor, or in the last 10 years at ReganBooks, where she is the publisher. Annual revenues of about $120 million at ReganBooks account for roughly 8 to 10 percent of HarperCollins's business.

She's got plans...big plans:

While not cheap, Los Angeles offers more space and more opportunities for young people attracted to publishing, she said. She added that several senior staff members had agreed to move with her, but that some production jobs would probably remain in New York.

She also said she intended to bring a different idea of culture to Southern California. "I would like to create a cultural center," she said, a sort of salon where authors could meet informally with people in the television and film businesses, with a bookstore and cafe, space for readings or other cultural events and perhaps a studio for a radio show that she hopes to serve as host.

* It's been suggested: Think the move is related to the blowup in New York over her Bernard Kerik affair?

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